Shifter, Norn (4e Racial Trait Variant)

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Norn Shifter[edit]

Noble and true, the ultimate hunters of the wild.

Racial Traits
Average Height: Male:7'6"-9'1" Female:6'10"-8'3"
Average Weight: Male:341-413 lbs Female:311-375 lbs
Ability Scores: +2 Strength, +2 Constitution
Size: Medium
Speed: 5 squares
Vision: Normal
Languages: Common, Giant
Skill Bonuses: +2 Athletics, +2 Intimidate
Bear Shifting: You can use bear shifting as an encounter power.
Strength of the Norn: You never take a penalty to speed from armor or a heavy load.
Strong Willed: You have a +1 racial bonus to your Will.

Bear Shifting Norn Shifter Racial Power
As if the massive creature charging toward you wasn't scary enough, it suddenly takes the appearance of an angry bear.
Immediate Reaction Personal
Trigger: You are bloodied for the first time in an encounter.
Effect: You gain 5 temporary hit points. Until the end of the encounter, you gain a +4 bonus to Intimidate checks and a +1 bonus to speed.

Play a Norn Shifter if you want...

  • To be a intimidating human-like figure.
  • To be able to turn into a bear.
  • To be a member of a race that favors the Fighter, Warden, Barbarian and Paladin classes.

Physical Qualities[edit]

Norn often wear heavy armor that they can carry easily. They often have Norwegian names. They do not mind cold and relish in the act of a "hunt". Norn think they are very strong, and with good reason. Because of this they disdain armies, insisting they do not need armies, because they are Norn. If Norn are rogues they are almost always aerialist, brawny, or cutthroat rogues, disdaining the ways of shadowy and trickster rogues.

Playing a Norn[edit]

Playing a Norn is simple. You want to kill any thing against your alignment that you see. You are always looking for a challenge. You prefer to charge into battle and kill all in your path. You disdain sneaking around.

Norn Characteristics: Strong, proud, stubborn, brave, independent, natural leaders, and loyal.

Male Names: Olaf, Vebjørn, Tormod, Vidar

Female Names: Jora, Sif, Liv, Aslaug

The origin of the norn race isn't known, but there are theories. The kodan believe the norn may be descended from a group of kodan hunters separated from the tribes during the great storm, becoming lesser creatures for giving up being bears. This contradicts the norn belief their ability to transform was granted to them by the Bear Spirit. It isn't clear which, if either, of these is true. Thruln the Lost, a jotun storyteller, claims that the jotun and norn once ruled the Shiverpeak Mountains during an "Age of Giants," but both races fell from their supremacy; the norn at this point turned to the Spirits of the Wild who helped the norn stabilize their culture while the jotun fell into a primitive nature.

The norn have always been a nomadic people focused on hunting and individual goals and pursuits. For a brief while the norn were united as a race in the years after they assisted with the downfall of the the Great Destroyer in Guild Wars, but it did not take them long to revert to a nomadic, individualistic lifestyle. This did not stop them from convincingly holding their lands in the far north Shiverpeaks against invading charr warbands. Their defense earned the respect of the charr and something of a cooperative peace emerged from their mutual respect for each other which has lasted for 200 years.

As early as 1078 AE the still dormant Elder Dragon Jormag's influence was already being felt among the Norn. Svanir was the first to hear Jormag's call, becoming permanently transformed into an ice bear form until his death. But over the years many followed Jormag's call and Svanir's footsteps forming the Sons of Svanir. They worship Jormag as the ultimate totem spirit.

In 1165 AE, Jormag awoke in the Shiverpeaks, raising and transforming creatures of ice and snow to serve him. Tackling Jormag as individuals did not allow the norn to hold their homes and they were forced to travel south into the mountains abandoned by the dwarves. Here they established new homes, found new hunting grounds and made new enemies. Here among the dwarven ruins, they met the dredge who they fight to this day for dominance over parts of the Shiverpeaks.


Norn culture is highly individualistic with a focus on personal success and glory - particularly when gained from the hunt or in a battle. The norn do not fear death as they believe the bold and strong can achieve immortality, but they do fear they will be weak and end up forgotten. As a result each norn seeks to prove themselves, to build their legend through feats of individual valor and great victories. Every norn hopes their legend will be told by the skaald and celebrated at a moot with story and song. Norn usually have a great sense of personal honor, for a norn without respect from others is already forgotten. For many norn the focus on prestige means they're willing to accept any challenge which will prove their worth. They will never give up on their battle, quarry or friends, even if it means years spent tackling a strong enemy or difficult task. Yet for other norn the pursuit of prestige translates to bragging, bullying, unwise snap decisions and an unwillingness to listen to reason.

Norn are a hearty, proud people - quick to anger but then quick to forgive. They are, by their nature, a race of optimists, keeping a positive outlook even though they have been driven from their homelands. A setback is seen as just another challenge to overcome. They respect those who can best them in a fight so brawling among norn is common. Drinking alcohol, often to excess, is also a large part of norn culture. Being drunk and fighting is not an uncommon combination, for example, norn alemoots feature competitions of 'skill' which require the competitors to be very drunk to compete.

Norn Adventurers[edit]

Three sample Norn adventurers are described below.

Vebjørn is a Norn paladin. He worships the Spirit of the bear and keeps to his name which means bear-priest in the old Norn language. He adventures throughout the land killing the biggest and baddest creatures, all the while making his "hunts" sound even larger in the taverns.

Olaf Olafson, seventh son of Olaf, is a Norn fighter who resides in the mountains aiding all who need him. He is so famous he even owns the town of Olafstead, a town which he founded.

Jora is a Norn fighter disgraced by her past. Once while her and her brother Svanir were on a "hunt" they encountered a dark evil power. It made her lose the ability to turn into a bear. But her brother went corrupt by turning to worship of the dragon Jorlag. In turn changing him into an evil, dark Norn that was perpetually a bear. Her ultimate goal is to gain the trust of the Spirit of Bear so she can once again turn into a bear on her glorious "hunts"...Ultimately...She hunted and killed her corrupt brother and was in turn killed by her brother. The norn crafted a statue of her and remember the lesson she taught...To do what is right, inspite of the consequences.

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